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Earlier this year, a different YouTube video appeared to show a homemade quad-rotor drone with a custom-mounted machine gun laying explosive waste to a group of mannequins.

Viewed more than 15 million times, the video turned out to be a hoax, part of a viral marketing campaign for the future-warfare video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.”

“Drones are a hot topic,” Milo said. “You can’t look at the Internet without coming across a drone-related story. Most of them are about military drones or government and police agencies considering drones and their uses. But very infrequently do you see stories that cover the DIY maker approach.

“The fun and valid uses of this technology are going to happen. But other possibilities are there. Surveillance drones over American skies. Armed drones. Not just your local police but also your neighbors. I wanted to create a video that put the questions out there.”

For the most part, drones currently are confined to the military — which reportedly has more than 7,500 vehicles in service — and hobbyists such as Milo, who are flying roughly double that number. Moreover, current FAA rules largely prohibit commercial drone use, while hobbyists are subject to strict guidelines: no flying above 400 feet, near populated areas or outside the operator’s line of sight.

A federal law passed in February, however, compels the FAA to allow drone use by police and emergency services later this year and allow “safe” commercial use by September 2015.

Drone advocates such as Mr. Anderson argue that the technology is akin to the personal computer, flexible enough to perform important and useful tasks ranging from crop-dusting to inspecting pipelines to extreme sports photography.

Milo said excited paintball players began contacting him within hours of his video being posted online.

“A ton of people are very excited, to the point of ‘Shut up and take my money’ and ‘This is now on my Christmas list,’” he said. “People are interested in playing with this kind of toy.”

Acknowledging the inevitability of increased drone use by the government and private citizens alike, Mr. Stanley said society needs to proceed with caution.

The Washington Times recently reported that because of privacy issues, the FAA appears likely to miss its self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline to choose six sites in states throughout the nation where drones will be put through a battery of safety and other tests before full commercialization is allowed.

“There is nothing like seeing actual video of something that might be an abstract concept to bring home the reality of the fast-paced technological era we are living in,” Mr. Stanley said. “And this video is a reminder of how we really need to step up and deal with these issues, and not just sit back and let things happen on their own. Whether that’s preventing guns from being placed on drones, or putting in rules to protect our privacy, we should decide if these are changes we want or don’t want and protect ourselves as necessary.”